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« Getting up to speed on azimuthal equidistant projections | Main | A joy forever »

September 13, 2005


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Heh. I hadn't even heard the "facing Mecca" meme, but then I've not concentrated THAT much on the issue, either.
Honestly, I don't think it WAS the architect's intent to make an Islamic symbol, but when it's so easily identified with the Islamic crescent--especially, as you noted, with the gawdawful name--don't you think there's some merit to the argument against the design? Certainly you can see how it looks like an Islamic crescent...

Even if one were to NOT think it's "dhimmitude", one could also say it's a reminder of, say, an Islamic embrace of death. Is that the right message either? (OK, IMHO it is, but I realize that's not what most people would want.)

I'm not really so intensely into the discussion because I think the families have more say in it than I do; however, I did voice my opinion on it--that it just raises too much speculation, controversy, and criticism, and that detracts from the purpose of the memorial. And to be honest, the families aren't going to be around FOREVER--it's a memorial for Americans, not just the families.

Great points, well taken, Beth. I imagine my own passion derives at least in part from my background in the oft short-changed profession of landscape architecture. Also, I happen to think the design -- with a much needed name change -- is a good one that captures the spirit of the place -- that vast, windy field bordered by native tree species, including the exuberant red and sugar maples with their breathtaking fall colors and the stately evergreen hemlocks that are major players in the planting plan.

The only question that matters is this: Is "Crescent of Embrace" the best design America can offer as a memorial to the brave (non-Islamist-terrorist) passengers of flight 93?

Say one were to create a memorial to the people who lost their lives in the concentration camps of WWII Germany and utilized a series of symmetric lines and angles that "meld the particular -- a place, a plant community, a certain landform -- with universal archetypal forms such as the mount, the theater, the grove, the parterre, and spatial concepts of prospect and refuge -- so that the local ethos of [the] place is never lost or homogenized."

It just so happened to bear an emotionally unmistakable resemblance to a swastika...

The designer states clearly (well as clearly as many of these designers are able to) that their geometric figure is timeless and is appropriate given their design philosophy and artistic sensibilities. The designer states that obviously their chosen shape pre-dates the Nazi symbology and is not even a precise rendering of that shape.

The designer also chose the title "Swastika of Solemnity".

Is "Swastika of Solemnity" is the best America can offer to those people? Stepping back from the designer's statements as well as from the critique of the design, what is the morality of offering "Swastika of Solemnity" as a memorial? If it were up to you, and your name would be forever associated with the decision, and considering both sides of the argument, would you approve the creation of "Swastika of Solemnity"?

There is a solution. It involves crosses. 40 of them, five stories high, in the heart of the "crescent"

Some of the design panel were made up of leftists. Let's all agree on that point. To use this name when they knew it was an association with the muslim religion, it's beyond unfortunate.

I thought this site was slanted toward the conservative side?

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